The Baldwin Wallace Athletic Department has recently decided to adopt men’s volleyball as the school’s newest officially sanctioned sport.
Kris Diaz, BW’s athletic director, said the new team can be traced to success of the non-varsity club team. “Men’s volleyball was probably talked about five or six years ago when we got a good club team,” he said.
At that time, Diaz said, they ended up adding men and women’s lacrosse instead, as interest in lacrosse was growing faster than volleyball. Though men’s volleyball wasn’t added back then, Diaz continued to recognize the enthusiasm behind the sport, something he said contributed to its recent adoption.
He also recognized that the addition of the sport might bring students to campus.
“As a university, any way we can offer the opportunity to add a few more student athletes to the student population to help student enrollment. We always look at those possibilities,” said Diaz.
Kyle Mars was named the BW head men’s volleyball coach on Sept. 23. Mars grew up in Rochester, NY, where he began playing volleyball. Following his college volleyball career, he moved to Hiram, where he was responsible for starting their men’s volleyball program and served as head coach for three years.
Mars said that experience would be helpful at BW.
“Already starting a program, I had a good idea of what needed to be done,” he said.
Mars understands that there is a great amount of work to be done this year in preparation for the 2021 Spring season, which he cautions may start slow. However, he has already put a plan in place for how to get the program ready for next year.
In particular, Mars said he’ll need to teach offensive and defensive systems, as well as a toughening process to prepare the players for the potential 60-70 mph spikes that take place in college that are not usually present in high school.
Both Diaz and Mars are confident in his ability to start the program at BW. Mars was also happy with what he thinks the athletic administrations intentions are with the program.
“We aren’t going to start a program without meaning,” he said.